Hale, or Haile1 Parish

  Extends about four miles from E. to W., and 1 mile from N. to S., is bounded by the parishes of Egremont, St. John's, St. Bridget's and St. Bees, contains two joint townships called Hale with Wilton, and is watered by several small brooks. The soil is generally of a light gravelly nature, well adapted for barley, wheat, and turnips. Its population, in 1841, was 305 souls, and it comprises 2343 acres, rated at 1733 17s. 2d. The principal land owners are John Ponsonby, Hen. Walker, and Miles Ponsonby, Esqrs. The parish was enclosed in 1811, when lands were allotted to the earl of Lonsdale. as impropriator of the tithes. A few of the houses in the village of Beckermet are in this parish. Both freestone and limestone are found here.

Hale is a small village, 2 miles S.E. by S. of Egremont. The manor was granted soon after the conquest to Thos. Multon of Gilsland. It was subsequently possessed by a family who took their name from the place, and in the reign of Henry III was held by Alexander de Hale, one of whose co-heiresses brought her moiety to the Ponsonbys, who eventually became possessors of the remainder. John Steel, Esq. of Cockermouth, is now lord of the united manors of Hale and Wilton, in trust for the Ponsonby family. Hale Hall, the seat and property of Miles Ponsonby, Esq. is a neat mansion, occupying a pleasant situation, and has for many ages been the residence of the ancient family of Ponsonby. The first of this family of whom we find mention was called Ponson, and his son, Fitz-Ponson. They were originally of Ponsonby2, where they are to be traced before the reign of Edward II.

The Church is a plain building, standing in a beautiful and secluded situation, a short distance from the village, with a turret carrying two bells. It was appropriated in 1345, by the archdeacon of Richmond to Conishead priory, reserving to himself a pension of 6 8s. a year; and was certified to the governors of queen Anne's bounty at 7. The benefice is a curacy* in the patronage and impropriation of the earl of Lonsdale, and incumbency of the Rev. John Fox, M.A. "It is charged 3s. 4d. synodals, and 6s 8d. procurations, to be paid by the impropriator."

Wilton township contains nine farms, and a small hamlet, two miles E. of Egremont.

* Query. A vicarage.   


Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847




1. Both the parish and village are referred to as Haile today.
2. The hamlet of Ponsonby lies just a few miles S.S.E. of Haile.

29 April 2008

Steve Bulman